Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 23, 2002
The junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers was chosen. Some of the men commented, "It's a beautiful spot - it is unforgettable." The rivers and the silver mountains, the Rockies, to the westwards gave an imposing aspect to the site.
Colonel MacLeod, called the fort Fort Calgary after Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland which means "bay farm" a name which is strangly fitting. Fort Calgary Historic Park has a replia of the original fort.
The Fort at the time (1875) was described as neat and tidy. It had a barracks block with a kitchen and dining hall; a guardroom with room for 12 prisoners, a blacksmith shop and a hospital that boasted hair mattresses.
At an elevation of 3,500 feet Fort Calgary got extreme and changeable temperatures. The fort also leaked like a sieve. During rain the turf covering the log roofs would absorb the rain but when the rain stopped outside it would start raining inside as the water soaked through.
With law and order and a focus point, immediately pioneers set up a collection of tents, cabins and two stores. The Canadian Pacific Railway advanced its steel ribbon to link this area to the rest of Canada. It arrived in 1883 and with the new accessibility to the town people flooded into the area. By 1892 Calgary became a city. Today the city has around 800,000 inhabitants.
Fort Calgary Historic Park presents all this information. You can visit the leaky old fort,see where the troopers slept, their daily duties, their equipment, their uniforms and the stables.
Elegant Deane House was part of the original site and dates from 1906. Originally it was the home of Superintendent Deane. On visiting the site we had a snack in the restaurant in Deane House before studying its displays, artifacts and historical videos of the fort's history. There are even Mountie uniforms for those who want to look the part for a photo. We then toured the fort. There were plenty of tour guides dressed in period costumes that were delighted to spend time with us to give us an insight of life in the fort. It was evident that the standard of living of the Mounties and the native population differed little at that time.
Admission Rates in Canadian Dollars
$8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors (65+) and $5.00 for youth (7-17). Children 6 and under are free of charge.
From journal Calgary - the volunteer city